Case Studies

GSS Data Explorer

Orlin Teams up with NORC

Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The new GSS Data Explorer website, powered by Orlin Research, makes it easier than ever to use the data collected by the GSS.

The GSS is a project of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC), with principal funding from the National Science Foundation. The GSS aims to gather data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends, changes, and constants in attitudes, behaviors and attributes; to examine the structure and functioning of society in general, as well as the role played by relevant subgroups; to compare the United States to other societies in order to place American society in comparative perspective and develop cross-national models of human society; and to make high-quality data easily accessible to scholars, students, policymakers, and others, with minimal cost.

The GSS Data Explorer utilizes the Orlin Data System to search and cross-reference survey data and metadata including original survey questions and white papers, create survey data extracts, and perform cross-tabulations, regressions, and correlations all from within the website.

You can use this tool for free by visiting NORC's site at

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Orlin Partners with the US Census Bureau

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a household-based survey designed as a continuous series of national panels. Each panel features a nationally representative sample interviewed over a multi-year period lasting approximately four years. The SIPP is a source of data for a variety of topics and provides for the integration of information for separate topics to form a single, unified database. The allows for the examination of the interaction between tax, transfer and other government and private policies. Government policy formulators depend heavily upon the SIPP for information on the distribution of income and the success of government assistance programs. The SIPP collects information for assistance received either directly as money or indirectly as in-kind benefits. The SIPP data provide the most extensive information available on how the nation's economic well-being changes over time, which has been the SIPP's defining characteristic since its inception in 1983.

Beginning in 2011, the US Census Bureau began contracting with Orlin Research to develop web-based tools to edit and disseminate data from the SIPP. The Orlin Data System opens up access to over 1000 variables in the SIPP. The system allows users of the SIPP's complex longitudinal files to prepare their data and carry out their analyses much more accurately, cheaply, and easily that previously possible.

You can check out SIPP on the Orlin Data System for yourself by registering and logging into our pilot site at


Orlin Software Utilized in the FSS Data Center

The Family Self-Sufficiency Data Center was established to help state administrators and researchers access, link, and analyze administrative data related broadly to family self-sufficiency. The relevant programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and other food assistance programs, workforce development and training programs, early care and education, and health insurance. This five-year project involves four activities: a needs assessment, data development, research and data support, and outreach and collaboration.

To date, the Data Center has completed the needs assessment, which collected information from federal, state, and local administrators and researchers about family self-sufficiency research, availability of state data, and requirements and needs of the data-user community. The results are now being used to develop the Data Center’s outreach and technical assistance strategy. NORC’s Data Enclave and the Orlin Data System form the technical infrastructure for the Data Center. Central to this work is the FSSDC Data Tool, an online data management and analytic system that can be customized for states and is now available for demonstration.

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